- Branding and Graphic Design
- Content Marketing
Social media is all the rage these days—but that's no reason to invest in social media marketing. Facebook now has more than more than 2.38 billion active monthly users—but that's not a reason to create a social media marketing strategy. 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35—but that's not to say that social media marketing is right for you and your business.
These are all reasons to start thinking about adding social media to your unified marketing strategy (if it's not there already), but there's only one smart reason to actually take the plunge and wholeheartedly jump in to social media marketing. You invest in social media marketing only after you've determined that social media marketing can help your business achieve its main marketing objectives—and grow.
Social Media Marketing Can Mean Remarkable Success
Social media marketing can be a potent addition to your marketing strategy. Connecting with your target audience(s) is all about finding them and connecting effectively with them, and you'll find them on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. These sites provide marketers with powerful tools to enhance your marketing efforts—tools like Facebook's Audience Insights and LinkedIn's Ads.
As WordStream notes, effectively leveraged social media marketing can take your marketing efforts to the next level:
"Social" media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach prospects and customers. Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you're not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you're missing out! Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales."
Just How Remarkable Is "Remarkable?"
If "remarkable" strikes you as just a tad hyperbolic, consider these metrics from HubSpot:
- Almost 3 of every 4 consumers say they use Facebook for "professional purposes"
- More than 80% of millennial Pinterest users say the platform helps them decide what they should (and shouldn't) purchase
- CEOs on LinkedIn have on average 930 connections
- Almost 30% of consumers with college degrees are on Twitter
- Almost 60% of Americans say customer service through social media has made it easier to get their tough questions answered and protracted issues resolved
How Should You Market Your Business on Social Media?
There are as many ways to market a business on social media as there are businesses doing the marketing. That said, some marketing strategies are more effective than others, including the following 5:
- Build your plan: your social media marketing plan begins with a clear delineation of your marketing goals and your target audience. Are you trying to increase leads, polish your brand or build awareness? Which buyer persona(s) are you attempting to reach? Make sure that your plan is malleable enough to shift as you assess user response data.
- Create your content: social media marketing is an iterative, calendar-based project. That means you need enough (and the right kind of) content to take you through the duration of each campaign. Make sure your content is right for your target audience, and that it aligns with the stage of the buyer's journey for which you create it. And, of course, make sure your content is useful, valuable, relevant and compelling.
- Keep your brand image consistent: each social media site has its own rules engagement, so you need to give yourself some latitude in the ways you engage with its users. But those rules of engagement shouldn't alter your brand image or the promise you make to consumers.
- Link to and curate authoritative sources: you want the leads and customers you engage on social media sites to view your business as a helpful, trusted resource. That means linking to authoritative and valuable source material on your own site and elsewhere. Remember, your goal is to help consumers answer their top of mind questions and solve their most pressing problems. You can do this with a wide swath of content types, from discerning white papers to user-friendly "how-to" videos. The more helpful the content, the more trust and loyalty you'll build.
- Measure results—then measure them again: you can't improve your social media campaign without carefully and continually measuring its performance. That means tracking a host of key engagement data, and for that you're going to need a robust analytics platform. Among the best is Google Analytics. Good news—it's free.
Next Question: In-house or Outsource?
Assuming you know what you want to achieve and have a reasonably good notion of how to do it, the next logical question is whether you want your in-house marketing team to handle the job or to outsource it. That means making an objective assessment of in-house marketing capabilities and priorities. Said differently, even if your team can manage your social media campaigns, is that what you want them to focus on?
To help you make this important decision, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- How much time do you have to manage social media? Executing social media campaigns is time-consuming. It means creating and posting content, tracking results, tweaking your approach and responding to user comments and questions quickly and effectively. It also means doing this 24/7. If your in-house team has the time and experience to handle all this, then in-house is your solution. If they don't, it's time to consider outsourcing.
- Do you know how to "be social?" There's an art and a science to effectively engaging your customers and prospective customers on social media sites, and consumers on different social media sites talk to one another in different ways. For example, the extroverts tend to hang out on flashy platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, while shier types might be browsing on Pinterest or hiding in forums. Just as it's a good idea to learn French before you visit Paris, it's a good idea to know the parlance of each social media site before you start conversations there. If your in-house team doesn't have it down pat, look to a marketing agency for help.
- Do you have all the content you need—and do you know how to leverage it? There's a reason for the sudden proliferation of content mills. Companies don't have the time (and, in some instances, the ability) to create the huge volume of content they need to effectively engage with all their buyer personas from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom. If you have a team of writers who have the time to keep the content flowing, and if you already have enough well organized (and well written) content, then in-house social media marketing is your gig. If not, talk to the best marketing agency you can find.
The decision to take the plunge into social media marketing (or to refurbish your existing social media campaigns) isn't an easy one. Neither is the decision to do it yourself or partner with an experienced marketing agency. Before you set out on your own, make sure you understand fully how social media marketing works and take the time to carefully (and objectively) assess your in-house capabilities. If you don't have the time or the in-house talent, consider working with an experienced, results-oriented agency.
To learn more about the ways our social media marketing, website design, unified branding, lead generation, customer communications, and sales tools services can give you a website that does everything you need it to do—and help your business grow—contact us today.
Is Outsourcing Social Media Right for Your Business?
Social media is all the rage these days—but that's no reason to invest in...
Tips to Get Started on Social Media
It's not exactly news that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and...
How to Choose the Best Content Marketing Agency for Your Business
Small businesses are spending on average $2,000 to $10,000 each month on...